For information on the mining process, including at Imperial Oil, refer to the following links:
2021/22 Focus 1: Autonomous Mining Systems
Instrumentation and software development for autonomy:
- Need for autonomous systems for independent projects (mine equipment inspections; facility inspections; environmental assessments; cleaning and maintenance systems in the field; aquatic systems for sample collection and bird hazing)
- Higher levels of autonomy are required (situational awareness, respond appropriately to unexpected events and obstacles)
Expanded autonomy for aerial systems:
- Light-weight detect and avoid systems; meet regulatory compliance for BVLOS
- Weather condition monitoring
Autonomous maintenance/reliability systems:
- Self-cleaning sensors and systems
- Continued operation in adverse weather (rain, snow, dust, fog, cold)
2021/22 Focus 2: Measurement and Instrumentation
The oil sands mining industry uses online instrumentation to measure general trends of bitumen content and fines content through a proxy of illite. These sensors provide an indication of ore quality on a continuous point basis and, in general, provide limited time for the operation to respond to the change in feed quality.
Technology and Knowledge Gaps
- Limited applicability for ore reconciliation due to indicative nature and point scale.
- Value in providing a true value of bitumen content, fines content, particle size distribution, and/or clay activity or clay typing.
- Missing ability to determine particle size distribution and clay activity or clay typing.
- Required earlier on in the process: mine face, on shovels, and/or conveyors, faster/more cost-effective core lab analysis, or downhole applications.
Preferred Processes and Methods
- Field applications should address the environmental suitability of the measurement system, sensitivity of the system to external factors such as ambient lighting, dust, rain, fog, frost, etc.
- Downhole applications should address operation in an aqueous environment.
- All methods should address how representative the measurement is of the bulk sample (one mm2 surface measurement does not represent the mine face or a shovel bucket load. 100-1000 done quickly might.)